It took some serious detective work to discover that my daughter was allergic to a meat if it had been fed one of her severe allergens. She could not tolerate any poultry. She had symptoms if her beef was not 100% grass fed. And in one case, she ate elk just fine, yet reacted to elk from a difference source. We learned that the elk had been supplemented to help them survive a lean winter. The common denominator to them all was what the animals had been fed.
Many would not think twice when comparing conventional or organic produce. One quick internet search will reveal thousands of articles and research studies documenting the difference between the two. We are all well aware that through the produce we choose, we are eating what the plant was exposed to. We buy organic produce to avoid the chemicals in the soil, and the pesticides or fertilizers used as it was grown. We would eat those. They would affect us. They remain on and in the plant.
This also applies to the animals that we eat.
Your mainstream allergist may not tell you this, and may not even say it is possible. But it is entirely possible, and becoming more of a reality for many. This was the number one reason we dove into raising grain free chickens.
I started researching and asking questions. I wanted confirmation that what an animal was fed ended up in their meat, and how long it would stay there if the feed were changed. I also wanted confirmation that it would show up in eggs or milk. I spoke with veterinarians, scientists, farmers, and anyone I could think of who might have an answer for me. Some said it would take a couple days to have a feed leave the animal’s body, and some said it would never leave. I found no medical studies, and no answers. It was ridiculous.
What I did find was that the food industry had lots of information.For obvious reasons, companies who sell meat are highly invested in how it tastes and how well it sells. As a result, the food industry has conducted a ton of research regarding the effects of diet on animals, specifically corn and soy. As you may guess, they discovered that diet affects color, body structure and even reproductive patterns. For example, methods to test meat labeled ‘corn fed’ were developed in order to regulate this claim. It was discovered that corn left high levels of xanthophyll, which changed the color of chicken meat from white to yellow.
Today, while mainstream medicine still lags behind, agricultural science is catching up. I had no idea that a few years prior a study had already been done to answer my questions. In 2009 a grad student at Ohio State University conducted a study on the presence of soy in eggs and meat. This study is extremely exciting for me. So exciting that I have attempted to track down the author, Dante Miguel Marcial Vargas Galdos, just to send him a thank you note. I am not sure he had any idea what his study did for those with severe food allergies like my daughter. Do you know him? Please thank him for me!
Mr. Vargas Galdos took chickens who had been fed a soy diet, and then changed their diet to the soy free Tropical Traditions Cocofeed. He then monitored the levels of soy in their eggs. At the end of 28 days the hens were euthanized and their tissues and organs were tested.
What did he discover?
It takes ten days for soy to leave the eggs of a chicken previously fed soy.
At the end of 28 days, the meat and organs had no measurable amount of soy.
We chose to hatch our own eggs obtained from corn and soy free hens just to be overly cautious. We did not have this information at the time. Thanks to this study we know:
I am still unaware of any direct medical research regarding allergies to a meat due to the animal’s diet; however, thanks to Mr. Vargas Galdos, we have the confirmation we need. Yes, you can have an allergy or intolerance to meat simply because of what the animal was fed. I already saw the evidence in my own home, but now we have some science to back it up.
One last reminder: In the case of any allergy or intolerance, the sensitivity of the individual determines the reaction severity. Not everyone will have issues with what an animal was fed. However, no one should be eating soy, and it is clear that in the case of soy-fed eggs and chicken we are all getting a hefty dose. If you would like more information on why soy should not be a part of your diet, I recommend reading The Whole Soy Story.
Hope is contagious. Pass it on.
Have you experienced allergic reactions to meat due to what the animal was fed? Or does this put together some puzzle pieces for you? Perhaps you are already on the journey of growing your own allergy friendly food! I would love to hear of your journey and to learn from you. Be sure to tell me about your expeirences below.